Aurora – Vibrant, brash and innately cheerful, ANNIE, the effervescent Broadway hit opens ACT’s 58th season on Oct. 27 for a record-setting 13 performance run. The show will be performed at 8 pm Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 18, Dec. 1 and 2, plus at 3 pm Sundays Nov. 5, 12, and 19 at Aurora Community Theatre, 115 E. Pioneer Trail.
Set in the hard-luck days of 1930s New York City, the Tony award-winning musical is based on the popular Harold Gray comic strip “Little Orphan Annie.”
Featuring music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and book by Thomas Meehan, ANNIE tells the story of the carrot-haired cutie whose pluck and positivity drive her never-give-up hope that she will find the parents who left her on the doorstep of a New York City orphanage.
Annie’s adventure-filled pursuit takes her from the wretched children’s home run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan to tough city streets, where she rescues a lovable mutt named Sandy; to a lavish, uptown mansion, where Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks takes her under his wing, and even to the White House, where the president falls under her charm.
Michael Dempsey makes his Aurora Community Theatre directorial debut with ANNIE, while John Krol returns as musical director, with Carrie Mazzucco and Michael Dempsey choreographers, and Marianne Paul, producer.
Julia Ashkettle performs the role of Annie, and Gilgamesh Taggett, who just completed one international and two national tours of ANNIE as Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks reprises that character for the ACT stage.
Paula Kline Messner, last seen at ACT in Good People, plays Miss Agatha Hannigan, while Geneviéve Adelman plays Grace Farrell. Michael Guffey takes on the role of Daniel “Rooster” Hannigan, with Laura Swinsburg as Lily St. Regis.
The cast of ANNIE also features: Dennis Runkle (President Roosevelt), Guy Custer (Bert Healy), Mary Pat Crockford (Mrs. Greer), Shelly Palumbo (Mrs. Pugh), Glen Johnston (Drake), with ensemble performers including: Jennifer Kubinski, John Webb, Dennis Dumont, Eric Grow, Emmie Ferguson, Danielle Dupree, and Sydney Goldstein..
Joining Annie in the orphanage are: Frankie Ashkettle (Duffy), Brigitte Edwards (Molly), Eva Logan (July), Ella Stec (Kate), Molly Kessler (Tessie), Skye Kubinski (Pepper) plus Jackie Armstrong, Gabriella Bozan, Marin Carlson, Mia Custer, Jordyn Freetage, Jane Gerdes, and Gianna Malie.
Todd Plone designed the set for ANNIE, and Barb Trueman and Linda Weinkamer served as scenic artists.
Ann Nyenhuis, stage manager and technical director, also oversaw set construction crew that included: Joe Mira, Martin Pekarcik, Jerry Schaber, Dave Nyenhuis, Brad Hills, Linda Weinkamer, April Sike, Sarah Kuchcinski, Mary Pat Crockford, Stone Dupree, Kimberly Stec, Kailey Stec, Marianne Paul, Glen Johnston, Brandon Johnson, and Olivia Johnston.
Tickets at $18 for adults, $13 for youth 18 and under, are available online, including seat selection, at www.auroracommmunitytheatre.com, or call the box office at 330-562-1818. Group discounts are available by calling the box office.
Aurora Community Theatre is located at 115 E. Pioneer Trail, in the center of Aurora.